Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 17, 2011
Querida familia,

Everything is going amazing here in San Juan. Well, to start off, we are having three baptisms this Thursday! The people getting baptized are three young women named Melissa (14), Isabel (21), and Adriana (17). They are the granddaughters of a less-active who has been reactivated, and they are super excited to be baptized. We are also going to be baptizing their mother in a few weeks, but the mother didn't start taking the lessons until several weeks after her daughters. They are so awesome. Even in the two weeks that we have been here, you can tell that their faith has grown so much. . . .

If that were all that has been going on in San Juan Capistrano Spanish work, that would definitely be more than our fair share of blessings. But wait, there's more! We have been really blessed in the last few weeks. The mother of the three girls started crying when we told her the story of the First Vision, and she has really been trying to read the Book of Mormon, even though it is hard for her to read. Yesterday we started teaching Olegaria, who was taught years ago in San Clemente by sister missionaries. It was sort of a funny situation--me and Elder Ochoa talked to her in a park in San Clemente the week before transfers, and she said that she lived in San Juan, and so we said we would send the San Juan missionaries to her. Then transfers came, so it turned out that the San Juan missionary who began teaching her was me! . . . .

I love this area. We cover the entire city of San Juan Capistrano, but since it is a very wealthy area, we spend most of our time in smaller parts. There are really only three areas where we spend time, and 90% of our time is in a neighborhood known as La Zanja (Spanish for "The Ditch"), where there are probably two or three square miles filled with Mexicans--including lots of members to help us. A lot of times, the members already know the people we are teaching, without us introducing them. It is a Spanish elders' dream to have an area like this. (And to top off the image, you have to cross a set of railroad tracks to get to it.) . . . .

So, I saved the best for last. I don't remember how much I have told you about Francisco and Marisol, but they are the miracle of our transfer so far. On one of our first days in the area, Elder Carey was calling all the former investigators to try to find someone to teach, and by complete coincidence called Francisco, who gave us the number for his wife Marisol, who told us to come by. Background: about a year and a half ago the missionaries came and taught Marisol frequently, who absolutely loved it. She was telling us stories about how she felt the Spirit when she went to Church on Sundays and how she loved the Book of Mormon and especially the hymns. In that time, Francisco (the husband) wasn't interested at all, and rarely participated in missionary lessons. Marisol wanted to get baptized, but it just didn't work out, because of work and her having a baby. She suddenly became super busy, and the missionaries dropped her. After that, they moved to a different street in La Zanja and Marisol changed her telephone number, so the missionaries were unable to contact her after that. Now, we have started teaching them, and they love it--Marisol says she comes home and sees Francisco reading the Book of Mormon in his spare time.

They read every night and Marisol has already accepted a baptismal date (hopefully she and Francisco can get baptized at the same time). Once, we taught about the Sabbath day and coming to church and told them that church was at 1pm, and Marisol said she had a soccer game at that time. We kept going with the lesson, and then she said, "Well, I guess I will just have to sacrifice my soccer game and put God first." Elder Carey and I could not believe it (few investigators say things like that of their own accord). They are doing great, and are good friends with almost all of the members here in La Zanja. They are such an awesome family. . . .

Well, that is about all for now. Hope everything is going great in Virginia!

Sincerely,

Elder Gibbons


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